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Phuket business: Skyscrapers and economic woe

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket business: Skyscrapers and economic woe | The Thaiger

PHUKET: There’s an economic-cycle theory based on the link between the building of skyscrapers and economic strife. Guess what it’s called? Correct: the Skyscraper Index.

While many trends and theories these days are based on cycles, this economical theory is based on the completion of skyscrapers. So what is this theory and does it have any credibility?

Let’s first unravel the theory and then you can make up your own minds.

A tall index: Barclays recently published the new Skyscraper Index which shows there is an unhealthy correlation between the construction of the world’s next tallest building and an impending financial crisis. Sounds far-fetched, and is there any evidence to support this theory? All we can do is look at the historical time that Barclays is drawing this information from.

1873-1878 The long depression: The United States economic recession with bank failures that came to be known as the “Long Depression” coincided with the construction of the Equitable Life Building in 1873. At the time the building was the first skyscraper at a height of 142 feet.

1890, British banking crisis and world recession: The 309-foot New York World building, also known as the Pulitzer building and Chicago’s 269-foot Auditorium completed in 1889, coincided with the British banking crisis of 1890, and a world recession.

1893, US panic marked by the collapse of railroad over-building: The building of Chicago’s 302-foot Masonic Temple; the 348-foot Manhattan Life Building; and the 353-foot Milwaukee City Hall, coincided with the collapse of railroad overbuilding. It also coincided with a string of bank failures and a run on gold.

Still don’t see the link? Let’s look at some more recent examples.

1973-1975, US and world economic crisis: The 1972 construction of One World Trade Center; the 1973 completion of Two World Trade Center; and the 1974 construction of the Sears Tower in Chicago, coincided with a period of speculation in monetary expansion from foreign lending. It also coincided with the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, a rise in oil prices which caused a global economic crisis, and speculation in stocks, property, ships and aircraft.

1997-1998, Asian economic crisis: The Asian economic crisis, currency devaluation and speculation in stock and property, coincided with the completion of the Petronas Towers in 1997. The 1,483-foot Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the world, but also heralded the start of the Asian financial crash.

2000-2003, Dot com bubble: The construction of the 1,671-foot Taipei 101 skyscraper began in 1999 and was completed in 2004. The duration coincided with the recession in the early 2000s and the tech bubble.

2007-2010, The great recession: The 2010 completion of the tallest building in the world, the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa, Dubai, coincided with the current global financial crisis.

So is this information reliable? When investing you have to take into account many factors, but I firmly believe trusting just “one” indicator, like the Skyscraper Index, is foolish. But there does seem to be an undeniable trend between the completion of skyscrapers and economic misfortune around the globe.

Investors look at everything from macro indicators like inflation, unemployment and GDP growth, to more bizarre ones like the diaper-rash indicator and the hemline index to measure the health of the economy.

Should we hold our breaths as the next world’s tallest skyscraper is built? Well, looking to China where 53 per cent of the world skyscrapers currently under construction are, and India where 14 new skyscrapers are currently underway; the economic prosperity in those regions don’t look set to falter any time soon.

David Mayes MBA lives in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expatriates around the globe, specializing in UK pension transfers. He can be reached at 085-335-8573 or david.m@faramond.com.

— Anthony Lyman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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